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Author Stiles, T. J.

Title The first tycoon : the epic life of Cornelius Vanderbilt / T.J. Stiles.

Imprint New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.


Location Call No. OPAC Message Status
 Axe 3rd Floor Stacks  387 V283Bst 2009    ---  Available
Edition 1st ed.
Description xii, 719 p., [36] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 25 cm.
Note "A Borzoi book:--T.p. verso.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (p. [691]-702) and index.
Contents List of illustrations -- List of maps -- Part 1: Captain, 1794-1847 -- 1: Islander -- 2: Duelist -- 3: Tricky god -- 4: Nemesis -- 5: Sole control -- 6: Man of honor -- Part 2: Commodore, 1848-1860 -- 7: Prometheus -- 8: Star of the west -- 9: North star -- 10: Ariel -- 11: Vanderbilt -- 12: Champion -- Part 3: King, 1861-1877 -- 13: War -- 14: Origins of empire -- 15: Power to punish -- 16: Among friends -- 17: Consolidations -- 18: Dynasty -- Epilogue -- Acknowledgments -- Bibliographical essay -- Notes -- Primary source bibliography -- Index.
Summary From the Publisher: A gripping, groundbreaking biography of the combative man whose genius and force of will created modern capitalism. Founder of a dynasty, builder of the original Grand Central, creator of an impossibly vast fortune, Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt is an American icon. Humbly born on Staten Island during George Washington's presidency, he rose from boatman to builder of the nation's largest fleet of steamships to lord of a railroad empire. Lincoln consulted him on steamship strategy during the Civil War; Jay Gould was first his uneasy ally and then sworn enemy; and Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president of the United States, was his spiritual counselor. We see Vanderbilt help to launch the transportation revolution, propel the Gold Rush, reshape Manhattan, and invent the modern corporation-in fact, as T.J. Stiles elegantly argues, Vanderbilt did more than perhaps any other individual to create the economic world we live in today. In The First Tycoon, Stiles offers the first complete, authoritative biography of this titan, and the first comprehensive account of the Commodore's personal life. It is a sweeping, fast-moving epic, and a complex portrait of the great man. Vanderbilt, Stiles shows, embraced the philosophy of the Jacksonian Democrats and withstood attacks by his conservative enemies for being too competitive. He was a visionary who pioneered business models. He was an unschooled fist fighter who came to command the respect of New York's social elite. And he was a father who struggled with a gambling-addicted son, a husband who was loving yet abusive, and, finally, an old man who was obsessed with contacting the dead. The First Tycoon is the exhilarating story of a man and a nation maturing together: the powerful account of a man whose life was as epic and complex as American history itself.
Awards National Book Award, Nonfiction, 2009
Pulitzer Prize, Biography, 2010
Subject Vanderbilt, Cornelius, 1794-1877.
Businessmen -- United States -- Biography.
Millionaires -- United States -- Biography.
Railroads -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
Steamboats -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
ISBN 9780375415425 (alk. paper)
0375415424 (alk. paper)

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